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How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

Do you act in a way that’s governed by other people’s opinions?

Do you continually stay in your comfort zone for fear of failure?

Do you fear making mistakes and cover them up before anyone finds out?

Do you feel you need constant recognition for your successes to feel validated?

Or do you simply find it hard to accept compliments?

Self-confidence is something we all want but for a huge number of us, it can be a struggle in our day-to-day lives.

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If you say “yes” to any of the above questions, it means you still need to work on strengthening your self-confidence. And the key to overcoming low self-confidence is understanding what it is and ways we can combat it head on.

The Difference Between Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem

Many people can’t differentiate these two concepts. While they may seem similar, there are fundamental differences between self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-confidence is about our ability to trust in ourselves and how we deal with challenges or difficult situations. Self-esteem is our cognitive and emotional assessment of ourselves that is connected with our worth.[1]

Both of these don’t always go hand in hand. Someone with an abundance of self-confidence may have significant low self-esteem. A typical example of this would be a performer who can stand on stage to thousands of people but who destroys himself with alcohol and drugs behind closed doors.

The great thing about working on raising your self-confidence is that it’s much easier than working on your self-esteem. By boosting confidence first and foremost, you can then be better equipped to target any self-esteem issues.

Self-Confidence Level Determines How Successful You Are

Self-confidence is crucial when it comes to our learning and capabilities. Our confidence can affect our performance and relationships with others and is a much stronger indication of success than self-esteem.[2]

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And this is down to what we believe is true about ourselves. Our beliefs influence heavily what we think we are capable of. In other words, mindset is a big determinant in how much self-confidence we have.

If we believe we are no good at a task then our performance is lessened significantly. The influence our mind has on our abilities can be the difference between performing well or performing less than our actual capabilities. Fears are therefore fundamental to our level of confidence and transcends throughout different areas of our life.

How Can We Build Up Our Self-Confidence?

There are many ways we can build up our self-confidence so what are some good hacks we can apply to our day-to-day lives?

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

If you have low self-confidence then the advice of ‘being yourself’ can be detrimental. This is where faking confidence can really help you move forward with success. Paying attention to how you want to present yourself to others can give you clarity into striving to act in this way.[3]

Sometimes it’s easier to change from the outside in – in other words, once we get used to acting in a confident way, it can become more familiar and we can start to see positive results.

Your Every Gesture Counts

Body language is an important way to convey confidence. When we have low self-confidence it can be apparent in the way we physically hold ourselves. Standing up tall and even doing power poses (think Superman) can change the way we think to that of confidence. Try it throughout the day and see the difference it makes. Talk more slowly – taking time to think about what you want to say – and making eye contact will give the impression of confidence.

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Here’s a video that gives you more idea of how to act with confidence:[4]

Dress For Confidence

Studies have shown that what you wear can have significant influence on how you feel and act.[5] Dressing up in clothes that make you feel confident can change your attitude and outlook on a stressful situation.

Change Your Mindset

Mindset is extremely important when it comes to confidence. Confident people focus on more positive thoughts and outcomes than negative ones. Try to change your perspective and habit of thinking – focus on abundance rather than lack. Know that the outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect your abilities.

Celebrate Small Wins

People with low self-confidence have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on the bigger picture. The secret to building more confidence is to focus more on the small steps we take. Direct more significance to small wins and celebrate them as this will help you realise how far you’ve come. In essence, become your own cheerleader.

See How You Become A Better You

Taking up a new skill like learning a language can help you to build up confidence. Seeing improvements and keeping track of progress will instinctively build up how you see yourself in terms of ability. It can also help distract and calm the mind, blocking any worrying or overthinking that may arise from other areas of your life.

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Recommended Reading Material

    If books are your thing, then You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is an excellent read to help you build your confidence and tackle your fears. It provides inspirational stories and easy exercises to follow all in a humorous and relatable fashion. It helps you to identify the behaviours and negative beliefs that are keeping you back from being the fully confident person you’re capable of being!

    So, remember building confidence is really a combination of mindset and changing our detrimental behavioural patterns. But the key is knowing that low self-confidence can be overcome.

    “Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” – Barrie Davenport

    Reference

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    Jenny Marchal

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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    Last Updated on August 19, 2019

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

    Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

    This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

    These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

    1. Know Thyself

    One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

    An unexamined life is not worth living.

    I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

    Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

    You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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    None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

    For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

    It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

    2. Figure out What Matters to You

    What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

    When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

    In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

    Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

    A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

    3. Play to Your Strengths

    Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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    If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

    Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

    Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

    4. Listen to Yourself

    It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

    The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

    Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

    To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

    Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

    Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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    5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

    Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

    Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

    When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

    However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

    It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

    “If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

    6. Make Time for Reflection

    It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

    Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

    • What went well today
    • Something you’re grateful for
    • What would make tomorrow even better

    Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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    It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

    Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

    7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

    Arguably the most important step of all:

    Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

    The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

    “I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

    Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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    Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

    Reference

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